Allow me to play out what looks like an increasing probable political outcome.
It is that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be elected the 45th president of the United States of America.
The trend is moving rapidly in her favor in the wake of (a) two debate performances against Donald J. Trump and (b) the continuing fallout from Trump’s hideous statements about women.
So, what might we expect when the loser of this miserable election decides to issue a concession statement?
It’s been said that the winner’s victory declaration will set the tone for the next four years. What’s being said with increasing frequency is that the loser’s concession will be equally important.
Trump has waged a campaign of anger, fear, suspicion, innuendo, invective and bigotry. Listen to his supporters yell “Lock her up!” at those rallies. Listen, too, to them complain about alleged conspiracies involving the “liberal mainstream media” and “politically correct special interests” who are teaming up to “rig” an election that produces a desired result.
They are echoing the statements of their guy, Trump.
The candidate has bitched about a “rigged election.”
Tradition holds that the loser concedes once the election is decided and then declares his intention to work with the winner to heal the wounds opened up by months of bitter campaigning. Recall, though, when Al Gore conceded defeat in 2000, only to take it back when the Florida ballot-counting threw the proverbial wrench into the entire election process.
It’s fair to wonder what kind of concession statement Donald Trump would deliver when the time comes for him to call it quits.
Will he lead his ardent Republican “base” voters into lingering bitterness? Will he make an accusation of election-rigging? If that happens, and no one should be surprised if does, then we’re headed for a very difficult transition as the new president prepares to assume the most cherished role in the nation — if not the world.
My hope is that if he loses — and one is compelled to offer that qualifier until one candidate gets the Electoral College majority required to win — that he does so with a modicum of grace, decorum and good will.
However, my fear is that Trump would hold true to the form that enabled him to secure a major-party presidential nomination. It was a butt-ugly process and my concern is that he very well could make it an equally unattractive concession.